"I smile a lot, I can't help it. That's my thing," Craig said recently one morning before the post office opened. In the background, Henderson's distinct laugh begins to bellow through the room.

"Lisa and I, we complement each other. It's a natural thing. It wasn't like working, we came here to do a duty, but we laughed."

With their final days approaching, Craig and Henderson spend less time inquiring about their customers and more time explaining their retirement plans.

While it may come as a shock that the pair were retiring, it doesn't come as a surprise that the two plan to spend their retirement taking care of others.


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"I'm really going to miss my customers, but this experience will help me with my business," said Henderson, who plans to open a day care center in her Baltimore home.

Craig, of Odenton, said she plans on spending time with senior citizens living in assisted living homes, something she derives great joy from.

"I like children, but seniors are my favorite," Craig said. "I like to bring life to people that think that people are no longer interested in them."

For Martha Szollos, 61, of Harper's Choice, the retirement of Craig and Henderson hits hard.

"It's like a family member is gone," she said.

Szollos said she's been coming to the post office almost every day since the mid -1990s to mail letters or packages to her family members in Sweden and Hungary.

While Szollos has many fond recollections inside the post office walls, one in particular is stamped in her memory.

When her granddaughter was still a toddler, Szollos recalls bringing her along with her on her daily trips to the post office. After a while, Craig set up a vacant mailbox for the girl to call her own. So each day, the girl would drop off a letter addressed to "Ms. Andra," and, in place of her letter from the previous day, would find a small piece of candy and, of course, a big "Ms. Andra" smile.

"She thought it was her own little post office," Szollos said.

Didn't they all.

 

llavoie@tribune.com

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